Chase De Leo scored the shootout winner in the 3rd round as Team USA defeated Team Finland on the first day of the IIHF World Junior Championships. Mikko Rantanen scored the lone goal for Finland while Alex Tuch replied for team USA on a beautiful feed behind the net from projected top 2 pick in the 2015 draft, Jack Eichel. Vancouver Canucks prospect, Thatcher Demko made 28 saves in regulation and was able to stop Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Kasperi Kapanen to seal the victory. Finish goalie Ville Husso made 36 stops through overtime and was exceptional throughout the contest.
The Americans have 5 returning players from last year’s disappointing 5th place finish, while the Finns have 7 returning players on their road to defend their gold medal.
Evident was the lack of maturity in some of the young players in the game, with projected top pick in the 2016 draft, Austin Matthews taking a couple of penalties, one being late in the contest. He did not see the ice after that.
Team USA likes: Jack Eichel, Sonny Milano, Alex Tuch, Thatcher Demko, Nick Schmaltz
Team Finland likes: Ville Husso, Jesse Puljujarvi, Roope Hintz, Henri Ikonen, Mikko Rantanen
Team USA battles Germany on Sunday while Team Finland takes on Slovakia on Saturday